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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Four community-creating ideas

To nurture Christian community in your congregation, try these ideas from Robert Hoyt, ELCA Division for Outreach:

Form small groups so members can gather to pray, study Scripture, and share joys, hurts and needs. Hoyt suggests these groups commit to corporate action, such as volunteering at a homeless shelter, to make time together meaningful. Group members may be diverse or they might share common interests or life circumstances (recovering alcoholics, empty nesters, parents of preschoolers, etc.).

Shift priorities and commitments to fit church activities into busy schedules. Hoyt says most people who have discovered Christian community do more than worship weekly. They also spend at least two hours volunteering or participating in community-building activities.

Make activities as time-friendly and family oriented as possible to help members become more involved. For example, switch confirmation instruction from weekly classes to a series of retreats where confirmands and their families can grow and learn together.

Walt Kallestad, a pastor of Community Church of Joy, Glendale, Ariz., advises:

Begin with prayer. Ask God to plant in the hearts and minds of the congregation a compassion and compelling call to become a Christian community. Write down any thoughts that come to mind--these could form the basis for a vision or mission statement that could be a first step in creating a nurturing Christian community.


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